The Sustainable Food Lab

I had the pleasure of attending last week’s 2011 Sustainable Food Lab Leadership Summit in Portland Oregon.  The goal of the Food Lab is clearly presented in the organization’s mission which states;

“The mission of the Sustainable Food Lab is to accelerate the shift of sustainable food from niche to mainstream.”

The Food Lab accomplishes this by acting as an educator and facilitator to corporations and NGO’s in the area of sustainable food systems.  It also provides various programs to help move forward its case for change.  An example of this was a new initiative that was unveiled last week called ‘The Cool Farm Tool’.

This ‘easy to use’ calculator is accessible to farmers and allows them to not only calculate their GHG (green house gas) emissions but also their soil carbon sequestration potential, a key to mitigating a farms environmental impact.

Although this year’s focus for the Food Lab was geared towards sustainable agriculture they have also worked on projects involving food systems more directly related to restaurants including last year’s program called ‘The system on our plates’ , co-produced by the James Beard Foundation.

Considering my area of interest is in ‘restaurant sustainability’ I was surprised at how much I was able to take away from the experience of attending the summit.  More than anything I left with a greater understanding of how supply chains work, and perhaps more importantly the various environmental impacts caused by production methods, processing and transportation.  This is important information that restaurateurs need to know to make informed and sustainably acceptable decisions in their procurement of products.   Restaurateurs have come a long way in recent years in being able to answer where their food comes from.  Now it’s time for them to learn how it is produced as well!

For more information on the Sustainable Food Lab please visit their website.

And thanks for visiting out site!



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